Positive Path Recommended Reading

Good Service is Good Business
By Catherine DeVrye

Anyone who thinks a customer isn't important just ought to try doing without one for ninety days!

Yet, how often do some staff see customers as interruptions to their day? Or slip into the trap of thinking customer service is just a few smiles. Or, worse still, think serving another human being is beneath our dignity?

Smart businesses no longer regard customer service as the 'soft fuzzy stuff' but a competitive edge that can yield tangible bottom line results!

There are many dictionary definitions of service. One defines service as:

'Being a servant to a master.' This implies subservience and as a nation, any nation, we rightly abhor this notion. However, another definition describes service as:

'To be useful'

If we adopt the latter definition, we will more readily embrace the service culture required to be successful in the global economy. We have moved from an industrial revolution to an information revolution and are now in the midst of a service revolution. We ignore this at our peril!

We can no longer afford the arrogance of believing service is something that happens in Third World countries; or that one enters a service industry only as a means to an end, before obtaining a 'better' job.

We all need to adopt the definition of service as being useful and feeling good about helping people. We need to be positive that we can give service as good as any in the world. As a nation, we have genuine friendliness, which far surpasses any superficiality of standard sayings such as 'Have a nice day.'

Make sure that all your staff understand the important role they play 'being useful' to every customer who walks through your door.

The customer may not always be right but the customer is always ... the customer!

As we know, customers may not always be right in reality but we can never argue with their perceptions of the service provided, because those perceptions translate into bottom line results.

Everyone knows that margins are often tight but take a moment to consider some research conducted by The Profit Impact of Marketing Strategy, who surveyed users of over three thousand providers of goods and services. Customers were asked whether they perceived the organisation as a 'good service provider' or 'poor service provider.' Those results were then matched with the actual financial performance of the organisation in the market place. The findings were conclusive. The perceived good service providers could charge an average of 9-10% more for the same basic good or service! And, the perceived service leaders grew two times faster than their competition!

The word 'perceived' is an important one because there was no data to determine whether the customer perceptions were, indeed, an accurate barometer of the actual service levels. A customer only cares how they feel they are personally treated in any given situation. No one ever said customers were reasonable human beings!

So, just make sure that all of your staff realise that it's not the boss who pays their salary but the customer, and you can never over-emphasise that:

Anyone who thinks a customer isn't important, just ought to try doing without one for ninety days!

About the author: Catherine DeVrye is the author of the #1 best seller 'Good Service is Good Business' and the newly released inspirational gift book 'Hope Happens!…words of encouragement for tough times'. Winner of the Australian Executive Woman of the Year Award, she speaks internationally on managing change, customer service and turning obstacles to opportunities. www.hopehappensnow.com Phone: 61-2-9977-3177. Email: office@greatmotivation.com 

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